MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - An NBA player who grew up in Memphis kicked off a basketball camp Monday where boys spoke with a Memphis Police Department officer.
Tarik Black is the player behind Transformation 50 basketball and life skills camp. It started Monday morning at Black's Alma-Mater, Ridgeway High School. In addition to coaching the boys in basketball Black also spoke with them on networking, dating, and communicating with police.
"Bringing in a police officer and speak to the kids and the kids being able to speak to him. He gets the chance to hear the perspective of the people he's serving," Black said.
Some of the children said they were a little afraid. For many this was their first interaction with an officer one-on-one.
Children at the camp said they walked away with different view of the men and women in blue.
"All the violence in the streets and stuff--so it kinda scared me a little bit," 6th grader Donovan Carter said. "Cops are cooler than you think."
Black said that's one of the goals of this camp: to bridge the communication between officers and the communities they serve.
The former University of Memphis and L.A. Lakers player said he also wanted to show the youth of Memphis it doesn't have to be a choice between education and athletics.
"Teach them the important of education and how much more important that is and how that has actually enhanced my performance as an athlete," said Black.
Monday was day one of the four day camp. Thursday the foundation will host a Gala where participants will be able to incorporate the networking and table etiquette skills they learned from the camp. Also four individuals who have had a major impact on Black's life will be presented with awards.
Friday they will host a rally from 3-7 p.m. across the street from C.M.E. Church at 539 Dr. Martin Luther King Drive with the goal to promote unity, love, and power to the Memphis Community. The public is invited to the rally.